Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” has been selected for the 2011 summer reading program at Appalachian State University. An avid runner, McDougall’s narrative addresses more than just running and includes topics such as persistence hunting, running history, physiology and nutrition. (Photo courtesy of Christopher McDougall)
Christopher McDougall’s bestseller follows the achievements of super athletics, such as Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians, considered among the world’s greatest distance runners, to answer his personal question: Why does my foot hurt?
“Born to Run” will be provided to all incoming freshmen at Appalachian, and McDougall will speak to members of the campus community and others during Convocation Sept. 15 in the Holmes Center on campus. McDougall also will participate in other discussions on campus and in the community, which will be announced at a later date.
It’s the book’s broader focus on issues other than running that led to its selection for Appalachian’s summer read.
“Christopher McDougall’s ‘Born to Run’ impressed a committee of mostly non-runners with his interdisciplinary examination of the origins of a very basic—and McDougall suggests foundational—human activity,” said Dr. Emory Maiden, summer reading program chair and a professor in Appalachian’s Department of English.
“McDougall blends discussions of topics such as persistence hunting, foot anatomy and nutrition with his personal quest to exercise more and with less pain,” Maiden said. “While he writes in an accessible journalistic style, the story takes enough dramatic turns to keep the reader engaged with both McDougall’s search as well as the interesting results of his inquiry.”
Maiden said that with the incidence of obesity and diabetes on the rise in younger people, committee members thought the book offered a fresh approach to exercise and nutrition as life style choices while avoiding faddish, commercial promises of diets and enticements to buy more and more elaborate and expensive exercise gear.
“McDougall’s book makes a commonsense, but all too often ignored, claim for the value and centrality of exercise and nutrition without restricting the benefits of more intentional practice to just to marathoners or extreme runners. We believe his wide-ranging creative non-fiction narrative will encourage intriguing discussions across our campus,” Maiden said.
A graduate of Harvard University, McDougall was a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Outside magazine, Men’s Journal Esquire and New York. He is a three-time National Magazine Award finalist. He also is an avid runner.